LEXINGTON, Ky. – The seventh-ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team is one game away from advancing to its third Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game in the last four years. Standing in Kentucky's way is the 12th-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs. The two teams will face off Saturday at 6 p.m. EST in the SEC Tournament semifinals at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, with a bid to the championship on the line. The game will be televised by ESPNU with Cara Capuano and Nell Fortner calling the action. It also will be carried live on the UK IMG Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.
Kentucky (26-4) earned its fourth consecutive appearance in the semifinals with a 76-65 win over Vanderbilt on Friday. UK used its depth and defensive prowess to defeat the Commodores for the sixth straight time in the all-time series. The Wildcats were paced by SEC Co-Player of the Year A’dia Mathies’ (Louisville, Ky.) team-high 16 points and five steals, while first-team All-SEC selection DeNesha Stallworth (Richmond, Calif.) added 14 points and a team-high six rebounds. All 12 players saw action in the game with 10 scoring at least two points.
“It's exciting to be here and playing in this tournament,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I think our players are excited. We feel like we have quality depth. In this setting, I think it can be very, very useful. I love the way we started and our intensity.”
UK forced the Commodores into 23 turnovers on 14 steals, five coming from Mathies in the first half. She has moved up to No. 2 on UK’s career list with 308 and needs just one more to tie the school record of 309 set by Stacey Reed from 1991-95.
Kentucky also swatted eight blocks in the game, led by junior forward/center Samarie Walker (West Carrollton, Ohio) with three, which set a new single-season record of 154. The previous record was 152 set in 2006-07.
Georgia (25-5), the No. 3 seed, earned a trip to the semifinals with a 71-53 win over No. 22 LSU. All five starters reached double figures paced by Jasmine Hassell with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Tiaria Griffin added 15 points (on five three-pointers), Anne Marie Armstrong scored 12, Shacobia Barbee added 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Jasmine James contributed 10 points.
The Wildcats look to avenge a 75-71 loss to Georgia in the only regular-season meeting against the Lady Bulldogs on Feb. 3 in Lexington, Ky. The loss snapped the nation’s second-longest home winning streak and UK’s school-record 34-game home winning streak. It also snapped UK’s school-record 15-game winning streak vs. SEC opponents. UGA leads the all-time series 35-13, including 1-6 in the SEC Tournament. UK’s last win in the tournament vs. UGA was in 2008 (57-50).
UK is 26-34 all-time in the SEC Tournament and holds a 3-7 mark in semifinal games. The Cats, who are looking for their first SEC Tournament title since 1982, have advanced to the semifinals four consecutive seasons.
Additional information on the tournament, including game times and online ticket links, can be found at www.secsports.com.